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California Today: Outpouring Over an Aggrieved Hot Dog Vendor

Wednesday: Renewed attention on civil forfeiture, California’s persisting poverty, and the plight of the pika in the warming Sierra Nevada.

A video showing a U.C. Berkeley police officer taking money from a hot dog vendor was shared widely online. Martin Flores

Good morning.

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A stunned look fell over the hot dog vendor’s face as a police officer, ticketing him for lacking a permit, reached into the man’s wallet and pulled out $60.

The vendor and a passer-by recording the exchange protested. “That’s not right,” said the cameraman.

“That’s how it works,” replied the officer, of U.C. Berkeley’s police department.

And now, video of the encounter outside a Golden Bears football game Saturday has become a fixation of the internet outrage machine.

Uploaded over the weekend, it’s been watched millions of times and prompted demands for the officer’s firing.

It’s also reinvigorated a debate in California over civil forfeiture, which allows the authorities to seize cash and property from people suspected of wrongdoing.

Last year, the practice brought the state’s law enforcement agencies more than $115 million, according to government figures.

Policing groups argue that it’s an essential tool in combating drug trafficking.

Critics say it’s been misused to generate revenue, in some cases from suspects never convicted of wrongdoing.

That was part of the reason for a California law that went into effect this year tightening civil forfeiture rules.

A spokeswoman for U.C. Berkeley’s campus police, Sgt. Sabrina Reich, said in an email that it was “routine to seize money as evidence of an illegal transaction.”

The money, she explained, is needed as evidence.

That rationale drew skepticism from some criminal justice experts.

“If the hot dog vendor is operating without a permit, the proper mechanism is to give him a ticket,” said Lee McGrath, senior legislative counsel at the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm that has been critical of civil forfeiture practices.

“The idea that certain serial numbers on certain bills are evidence is an absurd concept,” he added.

By Monday, the clamor over the case was so intense that the university opened an investigation.

In a statement, Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said in part: “We are deeply committed to building a climate of tolerance, inclusion and diversity, even as we enforce laws and policies.”

An online fund-raiser to help the vendor, identified in reports as Beto Matias, has raised nearly $70,000.

Martin Flores, who recorded the video and initiated the campaign, said some of the money would be used to buy Mr. Matias a proper food truck.

“I’m going to tell you this,” he said, “when we get the truck for him, he’s going to have a permit. He’s going to be ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”

California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

• Census figures showed that California still has the nation’s highest poverty rate. Housing costs help explain why. [KPCC]

• Last year, Representative Darrell Issa sued a political rival for defamation — and lost. Now a judge has ordered him to pay $45,000 to cover his opponent’s legal costs. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Los Angeles residents watched from their balcony on Sunday as people marched to protest President Trump’s decision to end federal protections for young, undocumented immigrants. Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• State leaders plan to provide $30 million in legal and college aid to young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. [The Associated Press]

• “Pretty much a family affair.” An audit found evidence of widespread nepotism at a California tax agency. [Sacramento Bee]

U.C.L.A. and U.C. Berkeley tied for No. 1 in a U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. The other U.C.’s weren’t far behind. [U.S. News & World Report]

Stephen K. Bannon on Friday at his Capitol Hill townhouse. Lexey Swall for The New York Times

Stephen K. Bannon is expected to speak along with Milo Yiannopoulos at a “Free Speech Week” event at U.C. Berkeley this month. [The New York Times]

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s founder, is working to create a buffer against President Trump’s agenda. [The New York Times]

• “It was a frat house.” Inside the events that led to a C.E.O’s exit from a prominent San Francisco start-up. [The New York Times]

Ellen Pao in downtown San Francisco. This month she will publish “Reset,” a book that chronicles the details of her gender discrimination lawsuit against the powerful venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Brian Flaherty for The New York Times

• She sued for tens of millions over gender discrimination and lost. But Ellen Pao is not done fighting. [The New York Times]

Kobe Bryant, the third-leading scorer in N.B.A. history, will have not one but two of his jerseys retired by the Lakers. [ESPN]

• Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott are still arguing over whether Deckard in “Blade Runner” was a replicant. [The New York Times]

• Twenty photos from San Francisco’s lightning show on Monday. [SFGate.com]

A New iPhone

Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for marketing, presented the new iPhone X. Jim Wilson/The New York Times

At an event in Cupertino on Tuesday, Apple unveiled the iPhone X, a $999 luxury model with an edge-to-edge screen that you unlock with your face.

The company also announced a new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, Apple TV and Apple watch.

Our tech columnist reflected on 10 years of the iPhone: It distracted us, gave us Uber and made selfies a thing.

And Finally ...

Pikas spend their summers stockpiling grass and wildflowers for the winter. Jon LeVasseur, via National Park Service

The pika, a tiny, round-eared cousin of the rabbit, doesn’t handle heat well.

So climate change has posed a problem.

New research says the mountain-dwelling animals have vanished from part of the northern Sierra Nevada where they once roamed.

In the area of study, about 64 square miles in the north Lake Tahoe area, the average temperature rose more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1910 and 2015.

The shift may seem subtle, but in the mountains, habitat changes rapidly with elevation.

“So relatively small increases in temperature take away a huge amount of these high-elevation species’ range,” said Joseph Stewart, an ecologist at U.C. Santa Cruz and lead author of the study.

The pika likely succumbed to a combination of threats introduced by the warmer climate, among them overheating, lack of food and increasing vulnerability to disease and predators, he said.

Pikas are not yet considered endangered. Mr. Stewart said you can still spot them at higher elevations within the Tahoe area.

But perhaps not indefinitely.

Current climate projections suggest suitable pika habitat in the region could disappear almost completely by 2050.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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